by Victor Lopez
WEST TEXAS--Everyone agrees, we needed the rain in the worst way. The fact that it stuck around for the whole weekend may have some people thinking, things are back to normal.
While they look at the situation from different points of view, the National Weather Service and the Texas Forest Service agree, we've still got a long way to go, before we hit normal.
"By no means at all, are we out of the woods," Senior Meteorologist David Henig, said.
Depending on where live, you either saw a lot of rain this weekend or maybe none at all. But according to the National Weather Service, it's the averages of all those amounts that will determine whether or not fire danger is out of the picture. And if temperatures get back up to the range we've seen recently, you can say good-bye to all that moisture.
Henig explains, "Once that top layer of soil dries out, then you're looking, once again, you're going to have very dry grasses, not much top moisture and it's still going to be causing problems, as far as fires are concerned."
The Texas Forest Service agrees. It's going to take some steady, constant rain, to get things back to what most people would consider normal.
According to Public Information Officer Bruce Miller, "It's going to take a long, extended period of rainfall to reduce the fire hazard to the point where I believe we'll be back in the safe conditions where 'normal' fire conditions, per say, will come back into play."
Just because there may be a few puddles on the ground and less dust in the air, it doesn't mean conditions lend themselves to lifting burn bans or even letting people set off fireworks.
"The drought is by no means over with, just because we've gotten a little bit of rainfall, so far. If we don't see any more rainfall, then we're still looking at very much, prime fire conditions for this area," Henig said.
So, what's it going to take to get things ‘back to normal'? That depends on who you ask. But as Bruce Miller says, this weekend's round of rain, isn't going to cut it, "For me to sit here and say we're going to need "X" amount of days of rain to get out of this, that's really hard for me to narrow it down like that. It's going to take a long period of time for you to actually get back to what you would consider normal in your rainfall and fire conditions."
So, what's the bottom line? If it's not allowed, don't do it. If you do, make sure you do it very carefully.
Henig has some advice, "Everyone needs to be very much aware of the possibility of fires being started this weekend and take the proper precautions."
The Texas Forest Service says, for them, this will be just another weekend. They plan their daily activities on weather conditions and preparing for a fire that might pop up and not on the fact that it's a holiday weekend.